Little Women at HOME, Manchester — a timeless classic that nails family foibles and character quirks

Whether it's the book, the film or the theatre production, the family-driven story always chimes with audiences.

The Manc The Manc - 13th December 2023

Since its initial publication in 1868, Louisa May Alcott’s semi-autobiographical novel Little Women has captivated readers’ hearts and remains one of the most beloved novels of all time — and it has found just as much affection on stage too, such as right here in Manchester’s HOME Theatre.

Against the backdrop of the American Civil War, the book draws inspiration from Alcott’s own upbringing with her three sisters in what, despite the very specific historical context, turned out to be a very relatable and familiar feeling story filled with plenty of compelling character studies.

Little Women tells the tale of the March family, with the story revolving around the hardworking mother, Marmee, and her four daughters: Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy.

As their father serves in the war, the narrative follows the sisters’ journey from childhood to adulthood, navigating the challenges of survival in New England during the War.

It achieves a perfect blend of humour, drama, romance and, of course, tragedy, along the way, and it’s easy to see the influences director Brigid Larmour has brought to the production.


Bringing her expertise and acclaim from The Merchant of Venice 1936, not only does the theatrical performance sweep you in the spirit of the age but, just like the hugely popular and successful movie adaptation by Greta Gerwig in 2019, the production boasts an impressive cast.

From Kacey Ainsworth as mum Marmee, known for her role as ‘Little Mo’ in Eastenders, to Jessica Brydges, Rachael McAllister, Meg Chaplin and Julia Brown as the differing daughters (Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, respectively), they all bring Alcott classic characters to life and without feeling like a various obvious nod to their recent Hollywood portrayals.


The ensemble is rounded out by Daniel Francis-Swaby, Susan Twist and Tom Richardson: all of whom are seasoned performers on stage and screen — and it shows, pulling just the right amount of focus from the central figures and shining in their own right.

The most notable nod to the supporting cast goes to Twist, who plays Aunt March and emerges as a formidable force, providing comic relief during tense moments and adding an extra layer of entertainment to the production.

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Overall, the overarching family dynamic in Little Women mirrors the funny and chaotic moments reminiscent of those Christmas gatherings just around the corner, evoking a sense of nostalgia and universality through the little quirks and idiosyncrasies that define family life.


In short, it’s akin to experiencing many ‘Christopher Columbus!’ moments in real-time, discovering uncharted territories within the family circle as you go — something everyone can identify with.

Anne-Marie Casey’s celebrated modern adaptation of the classic story, complemented by a stellar lineup both in its on-stage personalities, Larmour direction and wider creative team, along with a touch of festive cheer, makes Little Women a must-see production this winter.

All in all, it was a heartwarming show suitable for all ages which guarantees to resonate with both those discovering the tale for the first time and those first captivated by reading it on the page. Playing at HOME until 23 December, you can grab your tickets HERE.

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Featured Images — Chris Payne